It was dark and late at night when the old beat up car drove up beside me at the gas station in Harlingen, TX eight years ago. The sites on the inside of the car were worse than the out. A man and woman were in the front and three very small children were in the backseat. They all had their sunken eyes fixed on me as the mom rolled down her window. I hesitated in rolling mine down but cracked it enough to hear what she requested. “Do you have any food you can give us? My children have not eaten in three days and we are so hungry. We really only want food or gas if you could help.” The only money I had on me was a $100 bill. I had no food to offer them with the exception of a pack of gum. I was alone and afraid. I quickly responded out of my fear, “I’m sorry I don’t have anything to give you.” They drove away slowly as the car putted forward but the children remained fixed on me. They turned their bodies completely around as I watched them disappear in the distance. They seemed helpless and desperate for help.
Ryan came out of the gas station a few short minutes after they departed. He got into our truck and found me sobbing. “What happened? What’s wrong, he asked.” I told him the story and how I responded and he quickly started the truck to go find them. We circled the area three times without any luck. Why did I not just give them the money? Why? This moment in my life has been a life lesson that continues to teach me today. Those sad faces I can still vividly see.
The crazy part about this story is that Ryan and I were on our way home from a mission trip with our Sunday School Class to Matamoros, Mexico. We had been surrounded by poverty and the deep need to restore their brokenness all weekend. How could I have missed this appointment to be the hands and feet of Christ? I could come up with a list of excuses but really there are none. I was tight-fisted when I should have had hands wide open. The Lord and I have had many discussions about this moment.
“If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother.” Deuteronomy 15:7
What causes our hands to become tight-fisted? For me, it was fear that if I let it go I would not have it for when I needed it. In layman’s terms…it means I had a lack of trust in God. How can we have faith without trust? They have to go together. You can’t have one without the other.
After experiencing this heartache, the Lord began to reveal to me some amazing truths. Everything we have comes from Him! Literally every single thing! God PROVIDES! As I was able to reflect back over my life, I could testify that He had given me more than what I needed. He provides in mysterious ways and often times it’s through you and me. In order to be used by Him we have to be willing to have open hands with loose grips on our possessions always. My sorrow was very deep for the way I had failed to trust Him. I asked Him for forgiveness, and I also asked Him for another opportunity to make my wrong right. He said yes to both!
I was pumping gas two years ago in Mansfield, TX minding my own business when I heard a voice talking to me. I turned around and there was a beat up car with a man and woman in the front and a boy in the backseat. They had the same sunken eyes. This time it was the dad who said, “Ma’am, we are sorry to bother you but do you think you could help us? The Arlington shelter doesn’t open until 3p and we are really hungry.” You guys, it was like Christmas morning to me. I was grinning ear to ear and said, “ABSOLUTELY! Let me finish pumping this gas and then I will head over to that Jack in the Box and buy your family whatever you would like.” I remember looking at the little boy in the back and staring him in his eyes. I asked him what his favorite drink was and he told me sprite. I was so excited this moment had finally arrived. I asked the family to wait for me.
The folks at the Jack in the Box must have thought I was crazy. As I told them the order I was giddy. I told them to SUPER SIZE everything, make it curly fries and I ordered the little boy’s sprite. I was tapping my feet as I waited for the food. I was anxious and eager to give it to them. The Lord and I were talking and I told Him, thank you for giving me another chance. The food was ready and I was ready to deliver. I drove back around to the spot where I found them and they were gone. WHAT? Where did they go? Surely they didn’t drive away. I circled the gas station and Jack in the Box for at least 10 minutes. I parked, I waited. Why would they drive off when they knew that I was getting them food, they knew I was getting their little boy a sprite. I began to sob.
The Lord began to softly whisper into the crevices of my heart. This is what I heard Him say, “Gennie, I see you. I saw your open hands and your willing heart to give.” He reminded me of these words:
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Matthew 25:34-36
When we open our hands to serve the lost and hurting in this world, we serve Christ Himself. He sees us! He wants to use us to provide for others. Are you willing and ready to be used? Are your hands wide open or tight-fisted? Loosen up the grips of the things of this world and you will find that those tight fist become open hands. God can do a lot of work with hands open that trust Him. Have FAITH and TRUST in our Jehovah Jireh – God our Provider!!!
Today’s blog is dedicated to the Homebuilder’s Sunday School Class whom we shared life with for 15 years. They are family to us. They gave us baby showers for each of our baby’s, they have showered us with love and have shown us how to love. We have done life together. They drove 3 hours to be at Ryan’s dad funeral. They have always been there. They have hands wide open…they are His hands and feet! We love and miss each one of you deeply! Keep shining bright for HIM!!! XOXOXO